2009 Mennonite Heritage
Frequently Asked Questions.
Are there still openings on the 2009
August 27: We are not taking
any more bookings for this cruise.
About cruise costs,
decks: How much will it cost in 2009?
2009 Cruise only prices:
Double cabin per person sharing:
Upper Deck $4375.00 CAD/$3800.00
USD Upper Deck
$5200.00 CAD/$4525.00 USD
Boat Deck $4575.00 CAD/$3975.00
Deck $5400.00 CAD/$4700.00 USD
Cruise Only Price includes: cruise, all meals on board the ship, group
excursions listed in itinerary, entry fees, ship taxes, tips, several
Memorial Weekend events.
Not included: air, airline taxes, insurance, private excursions,
laundry & alcoholic beverages on the ship.
Insurance is essential on this cruise.
From past experience we know that it is important for you to have
appropriate insurance for this tour.
We offer through airfares to Ukraine from
various Canadian and
cities on request..
At this time full cruise payment is required (see above: 2009 cruise
only prices) to book on the cruise.
special through fares from many cities in North America to Ukraine for
passengers booking on the cruise.
for Americans with domestic partner United Airlines
Austrian Airlines or
Lufthansa for Canadians with domestic partner Air Canada
Please discuss your air requirements
directly with Marina Unger
1-800-387-1488 ext 2827
inquire about the cruise please phone or email:
Marina Unger, Vision 2000 Travel, Toronto
1-800-387-1488 ext 2827
or Jane Clemens ext 2243
site for passengers booking on the 2009 cruise
Question: Who is in charge of the cruise?
Response: An extremely talented, seasoned and professional team from
four countries on two continents.
The 2009 integrated international cruise team includes (in alphabetical
Goryacheva, Mennonite Bus and
Private Trips Organizer, Zaporizhia, Ukraine
Rudy Friesen, Architectural Historian,
Lyudmilla Karyaka, Senior Guide, Zaporizhia, Ukraine
Alan Peters, Genealogist, Litanist and Cruise Resource Leader, Fresno,
Irina Pyshnenko, Translator and Assistant Cruise Director, Minsk,
Olga Shmakina, Senior Guide, Fresno, USA and Zaporizhia, Ukraine
Paul Toews, Senior Historian,
and Zaporizhia, Ukraine
and Walter Unger, Cruise Organizers and Cruise Founders, who
accompany each cruise, Toronto, Canada
Galyna Zadorowska, founding Cruise Director, Lviv, Ukraine
Plus the Crew of the Dnieper Princess ("Jewel of the Dnieper
- Captain Dmitri Stelmakh, his officers and sailors
- The Restaurant and Hotel staff of the Princess
and the Chervona Ruta, Kyiv, cruise planning and situational logistics
- Lesya Boguslavska and Irina Solonetskaya
In 2008 we introduced the state of the art AudioConexus ieXplore Tour
Guide System using wireless Radio Frequency (RF) technology and
especially for the cruise.
Guides and Resource Leaders speak calmly into headset microphone
transmitters in the noisiest of environments and the passenger have
lightweight receivers & earphones.
You can bring along and plug in your own iPod earpieces if you so
What is different about this cruise from other Mennonite travel
programs to Ukraine?
There are a number of key differences:
1. We take passengers from the airport directly to the ship,
their home for the entire journey and then back from the ship to the
airport. There are no hotel changes, etc.
2. The use of a cruise ship is very efficient in use of time and
reduces passenger stress. Instead of taking long bus trips between key
stops, the ship travels there overnight. The ship provides our
well-planned meals, our assembly hall for lectures, hosting of
excursion planning, late night entertainment, etc.
3. Unlike other tours, the Mennonite cruise offers a state-of-the-art
tour guiding system where guides and resource leaders guide individual
groups calmly on site.
4. We invite significant opportunity for passengers to visit their own
ancestral villages, estates, etc. This is not possible on most single
5. Instead of having two bus leaders, the cruise offers a large team of
experienced resource leaders and guides in various categories.
6. The cruise offers significant additional resources in terms of
historical films, etc.
7. The large floating Mennonite community creates a special ambience as
passengers interact, sharing fascinating stories and histories.
8. The program includes visits to a range of evolving
Mennonite development projects led by experts involved in the projects.
These include the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine and the evolving
How many people do you take
on the cruise?
While the ship can take well over 300 passengers, we limit the number to about 180
for logistical reasons and quality of experience. Some 2500
passenger/pilgrims have enjoyed the cruise.
The cruise usually sells out early each year.
We have some special food requirements. How do you deal with these?
We deal with a wide variety of special food requirements
regularly & efficiently. The ship's restaurants are very helpful
and flexible. Just let us know your specific food needs well in
advance. The chef has designed low salt, low cholesterol, nutritious
menus for the Mennonite cruise and we have asked her to include many
Ukrainian dishes which were familiar to our joint ancestors. The soups
and salads are especially healthy and tasty. The fruit and fibre rich
buffet breakfasts are very popular.
Visas to visit Ukraine for periods up to three months are no
longer required by Canadian, American and European Union citizens. You
will however need a passport valid for six months beyond your exit from
Ukraine. The ship is required to register your passport details and
therefore we need a photocopy of your key passport page (with photo).
Passengers should be aware that our group contracts and also airline
policies do not allow certain combinations. For instance we cannot
combine Lufthansa flights from Canada with Austrian Airlines flights
from Odessa to Vienna.
Most passengers will be taken from
the Odessa airport arrivals hall on to the buses with luggage
help and then delivered directly to the ship on the Black Sea at
the start of the cruise. The Lufthansa routing has passengers
take a bus down from Kiev to Odessa at the start of the cruise. This is
difficult as it may seem. The fast new four lane freeway from Kiev to
Odessa has been completed. We will be
using modern Volvo and Mercedes buses.
Baggage Allowance For Passengers to
The airlines will allow 2 free checked bags with specific dimensions
and weight on international flights, including domestic flights
connecting to international flights.
Maximum weight 50lb (23kg) per bag
Maximum linear dimensions 62in (158cm) per bag
Charge for excess weight: Between - 51-70lbs and up to 62in
$35CAD/$25USD per bag
Carry-on bag should weigh no more than 10 kg
This message may be updated later
according to new airline guidelines
About Deck Levels:
It is traditional on cruises for prices to increase slightly
with decks - higher decks costing more.
The Main Deck cabins on the Dnieper Princess are slightly smaller
than those on the next two decks.
The two higher decks are on the same levels as the ship's two
restaurants, making for less climbing of stairs at mealtimes.
All cabins have picture windows facing the outside, that is facing the
river or the sea.
All double cabins have two single beds.
All cabins have a private combination WC/shower.
Boat deck offers the best visibility of river and shoreline and has
least hall traffic.
See some general photos of the ship.
stopover in Europe
Response: The European hub for Lufthansa
is Frankfurt, Germany and the European hub for Austrian Airlines is
Vienna. Mid October is a good time to visit western Europe. The
tourist crowds are gone, the weather is still pleasant and the concert
and opera seasons have begun. Last year we had about 60 people staying
on in Vienna after the
cruise. Marina has a long standing association with a family owned
hotel in the heart of old Vienna, the Schweizerhof. By now many
hundreds of passengers have enjoyed their stay here. It offers one of
the best buffet breakfasts in Europe.
3. Question: We are thinking of
combining the cruise with a trip to Russia - likely Moscow and St.
Petersburg. Can you arrange this for us?
Response: Yes we do this quite often and have good travel partners in
Russia Marina is able to use Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines very
cost effectively for this. We can also help you with the Russian Visa.
Please be aware that while Moscow is a wonderful destination with
magnificent musems, it has beome extremely
We have also helped passengers to other post-cruise destinations
including Turkey and Israel.
4. Question: How do you arrange trips
to the Mennonite villages?
Response: We develop a complex schedule of bus and private trips based
on your requests. Please have a look at how we are arranging this for 2008
We will be docked in Zaporozhye for four days. On the last day,
Saturday, we will all have the same generic bus routes, in rotation, to
historic Khortitsa/Rosenthal, the founding villages of 1789 and the
Cossack equestrian show on Insel Khortitsa. On the three days
previous you can elect to have either a cruise bus tour (at no extra
cost) or a private trip, the costs of which are shared with the
participants. The bus tours are generally quite long, so you cannot
expect to have a bus trip and a private trip on the same day.
Instead of choosing a bus route, we suggest you list the villages you
want to see. Often, for instance, people want to see a number of
villages in Molochna Settlement or Khortitsa Settlement which can be
visited on one bus route. We will then schedule you appropriately.
Please be aware that you would not be able to spend more than 20
minutes in any given village on a bus route. Similarly you should
designate the destination of a private trip. All destinations other
than villages in Molochna, Khortitsa or Yazykovo Settlements, such as
Sagradowka or Ignatievo, are served only by private trips.
5. Question: We have heard from
previous passengers that you organize humanitarian aid for Ukraine. How
does this work?
Response: Please have a look at the page of Notes.
6. Question: Is it safe to travel in
Ukraine? We understand the political situation may be uncertain?
Response: Well over 2000 Mennonite pilgrims have been with us to
Ukraine and they all felt safe and enjoyed themselves. We work closely
with responsible and trusted Ukrainian partners. We know what we are
doing. Yes, the political scene is something of a roller coaster but
will not affect us. We need to understand that the combination of
independance and democracy are still new for Ukraine. France and
Germany for instance didn't get it right on their first tries. We have
visited Ukraine during both pro-Russian and pro-Western governments in
power in the past. Ukrainians themselves are generous, warm and
hospitable. You will love interacting with them. Please note that on
Dec 18, 2007, Yulia Tymoshenko became Prime Minister of Ukraine, after
a hard fought national election.. Pro-western firebrand Tymoshenko was
a key figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution.
7. Question: Can I book for only part of the
Response: We do not sell only part of the cruise. It would be
impossible for us to find someone to book the portion you are not
taking. Our policy is the cruise is paid in full but you are welcome to
come and go on whatever dates suit you. We do not offer reductions for
missed days. Also it is not easy to get back to Odessa or Kiev once the
cruise has started. It usually involves an overnight train trip
to get back to Kiev.
8. We are not Mennonites: Can we book
on the cruise?
Reponse: Yes, by all means. We regularly have non-Mennonites on
board, who would like to visit Ukraine on a well-organized
cruise. You should however be aware that there is a definite
Mennonite focus in the cruise program. The program is full and rich but
passengers are welcome to opt out of any lectures and excursions.
Incidentally and unlike many other cruises, all bus excursions and city
tours are included at no extra cost.
9. What other tours are you planning?
Response: Good question.
Our cruise administrative assistant, Jane Clemens, is herself a
professional musician and organizes music tours to Austria. She
has an excellent repeat Mozart
week tour coming up in late January 2010.
Return to 2009 cruise page
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